Three of the four home nations are represented in this year’s British & Irish Cup semi-finals, with competition newcomers Cross Keys flying the flag for Wales against English outfit Cornish Pirates, while Leinster and Munster kick off the weekend with an all-Irish tie at the RDS.
Friday evening’s semi-final sees the ‘A’ sides of Irish provinces clash for only the sixth time at this level of rugby.Munster marginally have the better head-to-head record over the last decade by three wins to two, including victory in the last meeting: 19-7 at Donnybrook on September 12, 2010.
Munster A have only been beaten once in seven outings this season, their only defeat coming against Cornish Pirates, 10-6 on November 11, 2011.
Leinster are bidding for a first-ever appearance in the final having progressed to this stage with a comprehensive 32-0 home win against Pontypridd in the quarter-finals.
A second final appearance in three years awaits Pirates if they can get past Cross Keys in Saturday’s semi-final at PandyPark. Pirates are the only team in the line-up to have won all four of their pool matches, securing their path to the semi-finals with a win over fellow Championship contenders Nottingham.
But Cross Keys have impressed in their first season, finishing top of Pool 2 just one point ahead of Munster'A' before victory against Welsh Premiership rivals Llanelli saw them through to the last four.
Pirates go into the fixture having won back-to-back games against Rotherham in the Championship play-offs, while Cross Keys have lost two of their last three games in the Welsh Premiership to sit fifth in the table.
British & Irish Cup semi-finals
Leinster 'A' v Munster'A', Friday April 6, KO 1800
Cross Keys v Cornish Pirates, Saturday April 7, KO 1500
British & Irish Cup Final, April 28
The winner of Semi-final 1 will host the winner of Semi-final 2, meaning that for the first time in the competition's history, an Irish team will stage the British & Irish Cup final
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